Austria Invests in Nationwide Network Expansion


Almost a year of debate in parliament have drawn fruitful results when Austrian government announced their plans to invest around 1.1 billion US dollars for the expansion of high speed broadband network throughout the nation. Austria’s public and private telecom companies had invested in building fiber optic networks in the past, but not in a planned way nationwide. The current expansion will utilize those old networks while constructing new networks.

Austrian Finance Minister Hans-Joerg Schelling confirmed Wednesday the funding for the expansion would be made available, with local municipalities able to apply for subsidies for the installation of telecom ducts through which fiber optic cables would be installed.

A total of 330 million U.S. dollars will be available for 2015. Austrian government will contribute up to half of the costs to a maximum of 550,000 U.S dollars per project. Telecommunication companies in Austria will contribute to the remaining cost.

Austria has one of the highly developed and efficient telephone networks in Europe. The telephone system is highly developed and efficient. Fiber optic coverage in the country is extensive, but expensive. A full range of telephone and Internet services are available via the broadband network. Austria has 15 satellite earth stations, two Intelsat (one Atlantic Ocean and one Indian Ocean) and one Eutelsat. Additionally, there are around 600 very-small-aperture terminals (VSATs).

With 6.7 million Internet users, Austria ranks 50th in the world, which is 81% of the population. Statistics shows there are 2,074,252 fixed broadband subscribers. Austria has 4,564,834 mobile subscribers and more than 3.5 million Internet hosts. ADSL subscribers amounts to 300,000 numbers. Austrian broadband market is dominated by the DSL providers, which rapidly overtook cable as the preferred access method. SDSL and optical fiber access is also available.

Major internet service providers in the country are Telekom Austria, UPC, Tele2 and kabelPlus which offers cable services in the area around Vienna. Typical DSL speeds are up to 30 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload over DSL and up to 50Mbps download over VDSL. Cable services offer higher speeds such as 250Mbps download and 25Mbps upload over cable.

There are smaller but notable service providers such as in Tyrol, Xpirio in Carinthia and Styria, and i3b/Ascus Telecom that is available nationwide. Some of then offer up to 250Mbps speed over DOCSIS 3.0 or FTTH. For example, UPC Fiber Power offers 250 Mbps download and 25 Mbps upload in most bigger cities over a kind of FTTB with coaxial cable as in-house cabling. Blizznet offers FTTH broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps download and upload in some districts of Vienna.

Expansion of broadband networks will help deliver high speed services to all corners of the country that are currently available in big cities. Austrian telecom service providers use both underground and aerial access fiber optic networks. The expansion projects will excite local fiber optic product suppliers, while providing business chance for other suppliers.


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